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County Durham's unsung heroes honoured at awards ceremony
1:07pm Thursday 28th February 2013 in News
GROUPS and individuals who have worked tirelessly to improve their community were honoured at an awards ceremony.
Durham County Council presented its highest honour to 14 deserving recipients drawn from across the county at an awards ceremony held on Friday.
The list of those honoured included tenants champions and health campaigners, community centre and youth club volunteers, fund raisers and sports clubs.
Coun Linda Marshall, chairman of Durham County Council, presented Chairman’s Medals to people and bodies judged to have made a difference in their communities during a presentation at County Hall, in Durham, on Friday.
Among those honoured at the ceremony was organist Geoffrey Gregg who, in honour of his late mother, has played at Durham Crematorium every Sunday afternoon for the last 16 years, offering some comfort to the bereaved.
Joining him at the ceremony was 90-year-old Sylvia Hurst, who fled Nazi Germany as a child and went on to become a clothes designer for Harrods. Now living in Tantobie, she wrote her memoirs six years ago and has since worked on a number of education projects to teach new generations about the Holocaust.
Coun Marshall said: "All of the recipients of these Chairman’s Medals have made a significant difference to their local community and I am extremely pleased to be able to recognise their dedication and commitment.
"Whether it is individuals who strive to represent the views and interests of others or organisations which help bring the community together, all of those honoured have done something great for their local area.
"They should all be incredibly proud of their achievements."
The Chairman’s Medal is the highest honour that the authority can bestow. It was first presented in 2007 by Coun Edna Hunter to Geoff Cook, head coach of Durham County Cricket Club following the squad’s Friends Provident Trophy victory.
It has since been used to honour the county’s sporting heroes, artists, teachers and armed forces veterans.
Nominations were sought over the winter for people who had demonstrated significant achievement and outstanding effort in all walks of life, with one selected for each of the 14 Area Action Partnerships in the county.